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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Krm 4VIII

Rory McTurk (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Krákumál 4’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 724.

Anonymous PoemsKrákumál

text and translation

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi.
Heðins kvánar varð auðit,
þá er vér Helsingja heimtum
til heimsala Óðins.
Lögðum upp í Ívu;
oddr náði þá bíta;
öll var unda gjálfri
á sú roðin heitu.
Grenjaði brandr við brynjur
bensildr; klufuz skildir.

Hjuggu vér með hjörvi. {Kvánar Heðins} varð auðit, þá er vér heimtum Helsingja til {heimsala Óðins}. Lögðum upp í Ívu; þá náði oddr bíta; öll sú á var roðin {heitu gjálfri unda}. Brandr grenjaði við brynjur, {bensildr}; skildir klufuz.
‘We hewed with the sword. The woman of Heðinn <legendary hero> [= Hildr (hildr ‘battle’)] was at hand when we brought the people of Hälsingland to the dwellings of Óðinn <god> [= Valhǫll]. We proceeded up the Ífa <river>; then the sword-point managed to bite; that whole river was reddened by a hot surge of wounds [BLOOD]. The sword roared on coats of mail, [as did] wound-herrings [ARROWS/SPEARS]; shields were cloven.

notes and context

[7-8]: Noteworthy here is the reversal at the end of the couplet of the order in which qualifying adj. and noun are placed at the beginning (öll … á, gjálfri … heitu ‘whole ... river, surge ... hot’), giving an impression, when the lines are read in sequence, of criss-cross chiastic patterning (adj./noun, noun/adj.). As de Vries (1964-7, II, 40 n. 68), notes, these two lines seem to show the influence of ESk Elfv 1/4-5II, which, when read in sequence, show the same positioning of noun and adj., though without the chiastic ordering: Elfr varð unda gjalfri | eitrkǫld roðin heitu ‘The bitter-cold Götaälv was reddened by the hot surge of wounds [BLOOD]’, i. e. Elfr … eitrkǫld, gjálfri … heitu ‘Götaälv ... bitter-cold, surge ... hot’ (noun/adj., noun/adj.).



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XII], H. Krákumál 4: AI, 642, BI, 649-50, Skald I, 317; Rafn 1826, 4-5, 99-103, Pfeiffer 1860, 124, CPB II, 341, Wisén 1886-9, I, 62, Krm 1891, I, 225, Finnur Jónsson 1893b, 86, Finnur Jónsson 1905, 153.


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